A woman with the TikTok handle @not.cristinayang shared the story of how she stood up to an entitled Karen for a fellow Asian woman on a flight, and the video is quickly going viral on the internet with numerous people applauding her actions.
In the video, she recalls a particular 4-5 hour flight she had from Hawaii to Seattle. She was seated by the window in premium economy, which means she was eligible for unlimited drinks and snacks throughout the flight. There was a soft-spoken Japanese woman seated in the middle, and another person on the aisle seat.
I was flying from Hawaii to Seattle, which is a good 4 or 5 hour flight. It’s a couple years later, I have status on the airline, so I’m sitting in premium economy. Back then, you’d guessed like unlimited drinks and snacks, and it was awesome. I’m sitting in the window seat, and right next to me in the middle seat is a little Asian woman. I think she’s Japanese. She was really soft spoken. And on the aisle seat, there was another person.
Suddenly, the companion of the person on the aisle rudely asked the Japanese lady to switch with her to a less-desirable, far seat near the bathroom, saying bluntly, “Let’s switch seats. I’m back in 26.”
So the aisle seat person is traveling with another woman, and her companion says, ‘I wanna sit next to my friend.’ And she looks at the Asian lady next to me, the little Japanese lady. She says, ‘Let’s switch seats. I’m back in 26.’
The Japanese lady replied in surprise, “Oh, we switch seats? Um okay.” It was when she started standing up that @not.cristinayang shouted, “No!” and said they were flying together.
So the little Asian lady next to me is half standing up and not, and she looks over at me, and I go, ‘Sit down, Connie!‘ Okay, I don’t know what her name is. I just called her Connie for some reason, and she sat down. I guess I was meaner than the other lady.
As expected, the companion was furious and accused her of making it up. To cover up her lie, @not.cristinayang started speaking to the Asian lady in Cantonese, and the Asian lady replied in Japanese. Because the Karen wasn’t Asian, they knew she wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
So the lady in 26 was kind of mad that she can’t sit next to her friend, and she was like, ‘No, you guys aren’t traveling together. You just made that up.’ And I look over at the Asian lady next to me, and I start speaking to her in Cantonese, which is totally the wrong language for her. But this lady is not Asian so she’s not gonna know the difference. And the Asian lady looks at me, she’s like, ‘Yeah.’ And she responds to me in Japanese, and I’m like, ‘Mmm hmm, that’s right.‘
She looked up at the companion and told her to go back to her seat in row 26. Concluding, she scolded her for not booking the seat beside her friend if she really wanted it that badly.
I look up at the lady who’s still standing there and I go, ‘Well we’re gonna continue to talk about you in our language, so why don’t you go back to row 26 where you belong, okay? Because if you wanted to sit next to your friend, you should have booked a ticket next to her—not twenty rows behind.’
Comments were filled with praise for how she handled the situation. They wished her well and laughed at some things she said, such as “We’re both Asian, so obviously we know each other…”
Some praised “Connie” for going with the flow and others noted how it’s only proper to not ask a stranger to “downgrade for your convenience.”